Fix The State And The Country Will Follow
Neither the GOP nor the Democrats have proposed effective solutions to the nation’s structural economic problems. Leaders from both major political parties have "big, bold, macro-economic" solutions that add to our greater economic and social malaise. Their competing plans to fix Social Security, Medicare and the mounting debt and deficit of our nation have been grossly ineffective, compounding the problems that continue to erode our nation's stability and trust in its leadership. The problem with these big ideas is that none of them will serve to fix the nation unless we also fix the states.
Notwithstanding our concern for our nation's unrest, we must address the mother of all states, the "Golden State" of California, and lead by example , through strong, responsible leadership and the Power of One as we come together to turn a declining situation of over-spending, excessive taxation, degenerative education, and overall dysfunction to a positive and productive outcome. As California remains structurally defective, all the big ideas will not restore our American values, our freedom, and our ability to reach our greatest potential for prosperity, health, and happiness without "smart" progressive planning and a genuine commitment of change. The California economy is a massive collection of social, industrial, and topographical diversity. Our abundant natural resources combined with California's leading technology, arts and entertainment, and vast financial markets offers an economic base that is second to none.
Home to Apple, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Facebook, to name a few, California is leading the way in computer science and technology, while Silicon Valley, brimming with "new" talent and fresh ideas, remains willing, ready and able to create millions of jobs, increase capital, generate housing, and private business to a resurgence of competitive marketability. The Central Valley is also ready and able to expand its vast natural and agricultural resources. Southern California with its world-acclaimed international Banking, Arts and Entertainment, Fashion, and Tourism is a veritable gold mine of resource and development, both culturally and economically. California possesses some of the largest and most secure seaports in the world. San Diego is still the epicenter for bio-technology and oceanic research. Immigration continues to offer the potential for above trend economic growth in California. California has lived through a "magnified version" of the United State's cyclical recession of 2008 but has failed to adequately recover due to structural and sociological deficiencies. In short, California can NOT afford to sit, wait and look the other way. It is time to bring ourselves together, elect the leaders, who are ready, willing, and able to do the job they're hired to do and get California back on track. It may well be said, as California goes, so goes the nation.
It is time for California to rise above its challenges, and reclaim its title as one of the world's leading and progressive model of prosperity and economic growth through our engenuity, our humanity, and our collective cooperation to restore the values entrinsic in our heritage and the freedoms from which we were created. Our vision for the future is to be the place, where dreams are made and stars are born, a place where all who come call California "HOME."
The enacted governor’s budget of 2012-2013 starts out with a $2.8 billion carry-over deficit from the prior fiscal year, which then foolishly assumes state revenues of $95.9 billion, a full 10.4% increase over the prior year. One irresponsible assumption wasn’t enough for our legislature. They also “assumed” an income tax increase passed by voters in November. Keep in mind California already taxes its citizens at 9.3% of income, when a single taxpayer reaches the stratospherically rich level of $48,000. To affect tax reform and attract employers to California the legislature must throw out its "old" ideas of a captive tax base.
The revenue base in California is free and mobile and voting with its feet. Capital is instantly mobile in today’s global economy and is legally safe by fair judicial systems on the majority of the planet today. Instead of trying to squeeze more revenue from a shrinking economic and social base, California must take steps to foster an environment where employers voluntarily locate here. The task could be easy given our rich natural and human resources and our world class infrastructure. California’s legislature needs only to look to countries with similar output or to states that have grown during the most recent recession. California’s economy is still the equivalent of the ninth largest in the world but without responsible, aggressive, and progressive tax reform, California can no longer endure the weight of our economic fallout.
A strong and viable plan of tax incentives to private and corporate enterprise is necessary to encourage and sustain our economic growth, providing higher employment and higher-paying jobs. Monetization of inground assets, non-recourse funding, and other viable and creative financial planning can dramatically reduce the impact of state appropriated funds vital to improve education, health care, infrastructure maintenance and development, water resources, and the overall economy of our state.
Historically, the typical response of government to address issues of the State budget, is to cut resources and funding or to eliminate viable, though inefficiently operated programs, rather than restructure worthy and desirable programs, while eliminating or simplifying the superfluous, beaurocratic offices that "clutter" and deter "smart" government to function optimally to improve and enhance our socio-economic capabilities. Raising taxes is not an option without increasing the standard of living for the majority of Californians. Due to the abundance and diversity of California's natural and technological resources, alternative means of procuring financial stability and economic growth are crucial in this effort. As mentioned, monetization of California's inground assets is a well-established and viable solution to prevent raising taxes and/or further amputation of vital institutions that well-serve the public's interest.
Note: California’s crude oil and natural gas deposits are located in six geological basins in the Central Valley and along the coast. California has more than a dozen of the United States' largest oil fields, including the Midway-Sunset Oil Field, the second largest oil field in the contiguous United States.
California’s crude oil output accounts for more than one-tenth of total U.S. production. Drilling operations are concentrated primarily in Kern County and the Los Angeles basin. Although there is also substantial offshore oil and gas production, there is a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil and gas leasing in California waters and a deferral of leasing in Federal waters. California natural gas production typically is less than 2 percent of total annual U.S. production and satisfies less than one-sixth of state demand. California receives most of its natural gas by pipeline from production regions in the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and western Canada.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_use_in_California
Sacramento, like many of the state’s cities and counties, has failed to keep up technologically with the private sector. Permitting processes take far too long and are overly complicated. Our legislature needs to revamp the entire management and operational structure of the state by ordering a red tape reduction and streamlined targeting of employers in emerging economic sectors.The legislature must take steps to protect small businesses from abusive litigation, while ensuring judicial fairness for plaintiffs and pro se litigants (people representing themselves). The State must take real steps to create financial efficiencies at every level of state government and reduce the cost of living for working families.
The legislature must also recognize they are employed by voters, not labor unions and special interest groups. Long term decisions, in lieu of short term politics, for the benefit of the entire state are one major solution to fix California's socio-economic problems. To that end, California represents the best opportunity for the country to grow out of its current situation. For California to succeed and grow, its counties and cities must grow as well. To be sure, there clearly exists a local level revolution brewing in both small and big cities in large part due to irresponsible and "oppressive" government throughout the State. Consider California's second largest city, San Diego, where reform- minded, fiscally conservative Carl DeMaio in November 2010 issued his “Roadmap to Recovery”, a five year fiscal reform plan advocating pension reform, integrating market forces into city contracts and infusing San Diego with a growth mantra.
In addition, to further the safety, wellbeing, and socio-economic growth of California and its counties, in particular among predominently rural areas, a collective plan of "checks and balances," combined with a central communications system must be put into place, focussing on accountability of government and ease of access between state and local offices, as well as providing easy and efficient public access to state and local offices.
Unemployed and Underemployed
California still has nearly 1.8 million people who are unemployed. That does not include the countless numbers of people, who are working in jobs that pay less than what is needed to pay the mortgage and other expenses, because it’s the only job available.
From the proposed $3.2 billion in new funding to the estimated $6.25 billion the state expects to collect, where is our money going?
Meanwhile, pay raises for state employees and automatically expanding government programs that provide minimal benefit to the public are shamefully enacted while the crippling middle class, baraged by false promises, struggles to make ends meet. It is no wonder that violent crimes in California remain significantly high, while the number of suicide deaths, particularly in our youth, continues to clime, as the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death in 25 to 44 year olds, making it a significant contributor to premature and senseless death.
We MUST take action to safeguard our youth, our elderly, and all who depend upon others to make the right decisions for their safety and protection. We MUST take action to safeguard our homes, our families, our schools, our future...our dreams. Our solution begins with our desire for a better way of life and the pursuit of happiness. The rest is up to us to come together, choose our leaders wisely, and execute the solutions that address the problems directly and responsibly with courage and forthright commitment, using the abundant resources to which we are blessed and staying vigilant, focussed, and determined, as failure is NOT an option. Hold onto the dreams from which we aspire to fulfill our potential, our legacy of accomplishment and our success towards a brighter future.
California is in the midst of its third dry winter. A report by the Christian Science Monitor pegged this year’s drought as the worst in California’s 163-year existence, and Governor Jerry Brown referred to the drought in his State of the State address as “a stark warning of things to come.” The state reservoir will close for the first time in 54 years, its storage facilities locking up to conserve water for as long as possible, leaving 25 million people to get their drinking water from another source.
A recent poll of 1700 adults conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California revealed what one article optimistically dubbed a “record high” 7% of Californians, who believe water and the drought should be the State Legislature’s top priority. Contrary to public opinion based on the results of this poll, California's drought is one of the most serious and potentially catastrophic issues facing our State. Note: Agriculture uses 75% of the states water supply. The shutdown of the State’s vast reservoir system not only means the end of drinking water for 25 million people, but also for 1 million acres of farmland. As other sources are tapped to compensate for the shutdown, they too will run dry. Agriculture is a primary source of our State's economy. Without sufficient water to grow our fields, our agricultural resources would plunder, not only reducing this economic advantage, but potentially leading to a more disastrous outcome for the State and our country.
Notwithstanding the urgency to address and resolve this dilemma, California continues to be severely impacted by the on-going effect of natural catastrophies, such as massive fires, and the devastating effect to wildlife, fisheries, and other related industries, not to mention the direct impact to our daily lives. Water is a necessary source for human survival and must be addressed as a top priority to the State and our country at large.
There are viable, alternative solutions to California's major water concerns. Technology has made it possible to transform safe drinking water from the atmosphere and de-salination technology, using the Pacific Ocean as its source. To date, our government has opted to look the other way, spending revenue on a depleting water system, rather than on progressive alternatives that would not only resolve our diminishing water supply, but provide effective and environmentally safe methods of attaining water by virtually endless sources for daily consumption. Moreover, the construction and development of proven state-of-the-art water systems would provide a significant work force, while providing opportunities for private business and other financial investment. It is a "Win-Win" solution. The technology is here. If we open our eyes, we can see the possibilities.
As one of the wealthiest states in our United States of America, California also ranks one of the country's highest in poverty. That is NOT acceptable! According to a recent report from the Stanford Centre on Poverty and Inequality and the Public Policy Institute of California, 27% of California's population is poor. That figure may not account for other variables or the number of homeless people, including families with children. An estimated 25% of children live in poverty. Although a large percentage of families with children living in poverty consists of families of undocumented workers, African American citizens, and other ethnic groups, we must not disregard the inhumane and wreckless fact that poverty is a faceless admission to any advanced society with the means and resources to address and correct this problem. According to Governor Brown, the high poverty rate is "the flip side of California's incredible attractiveness," an understatement to the vast dilemma that challenges not only our social and economic values, but also suggests a certain acceptance of this condition and ignores the critical impact poverty has on the lives of our children, their families, and our communities.
One third of America’s welfare recipients live in California. While social services and welfare programs offer a "bandaid" solution to the problem, rather than "fix" the problem, they often serve to perpetuate this crisis from an oppressive and complacency standpoint, while immigrants desperate for a better life continue to pour into our State, taking advantage of the many programs that exist, as numbers of impoverished families continues to climb. In the long run, education, jobs, and good health care can improve the conditions and foreseeable future for many empoverished families, but as the numbers continue to multiply, it becomes critical that we change our "hand out" plan to a more "head out" plan that encourages and compells people to become more independant and less reliant on public welfare.
Self-empowerment is one of the strongest means towards self recovery, economic stability and social confidence. One solution would be to create a special community task force, consisting of a "specially-trained militia" with the necessary social and communication skills to effectively serve these communities, providing not only protection from drug and gang-related activities, but also a presence of "strong leadership" that welcomes the trust and confidence of the community. Further encouragement to re-model these communities, both from an appearance perspective by "cleaning up" the substandard conditions of their homes, buildings, parks, and schools, as well as "people helping people" from volunteer mentoring programs to church and spiritual community activities, and other scolastic and athletic incentives for our youth and socio-economic opportunities for our elderly.
California government has a duty to protect and defend the rights and privileges of all its citizens. It is incumbant upon our local government, regardless of wealth and status, to establish, maintain, and promote harmony from within. In cases where communities require the help and assistance of State, alternative means of support must be considered. Raising taxpayer dollars is not the solution, as it would enflame an already frustrated, tax-leveraged populace to incur more sacrifice and hardship. Simply put, there are alternative and creative ways to support and promote community enhancement, both financially and socially.
The role of government is NOT to dictate, but to facilitate a harmonious and productive advantage for everyone. It is the responsibility of the people, however, to choose their leaders wisely, not only based on good intentions, or party affiliation, but more aptly based on their ability and willingness to perform.
Our message is simple. No voice left unheard. No woman, man or child left behind. A resolute commitment of choice, understanding and command of the situation, a "clear and focussed" vision for the desired outcome, and a well-formed plan for success, is vital to our growth and the advancement of our objective, that of a free, prosperous, and healthy society, one that is based not only on the interests of a few, but on the interests of all.
Education is fundamental to our socio-economic growth, which raises the question, "Why is California ranked among the lowest in the country for literacy and scholastic aptitude?" $50 billion in new taxes has been implemented towards the promise of improving schools and stabalizing the cost of higher education, but where has this money gone? Our public school system is a disgrace and an insult to the teachers and administrators who "struggle" to work within the confines of a shoestring budget, while too often occupying buildings that are unfit for occupancy, let alone a stable environment for learning. Higher education is less affordable than it ever was and students are maxed to the gills with increased education loans to be paid over years post graduate. It is an unnecessary burden that can no longer be tolerated.
Add to the equation, reduced employment opportunities and less professional jobs available upon graduation, and we've created a closed door response to our scholastic achievers, who are consequently forced to leave California to pursue their dreams eslewhere. Not smart.According to the Department of Justice, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, according to BeginToRead.com. Proposition 13, as it has proven, is a recipe for failure. Our legislators can no longer continue the trend to promote and prolong our "self-entitlement" agenda that continues to plague our State with governmental programs that encourage apathy and complacency, rather than a healthy competitive edge raising our standard of performance and achievement to a more positive and productive outcome, not only in our schools, but in every aspect of our society.
California has become a welfare state that rewards, not only the underprivileged, but more poignantly the average populace with "hand outs" to an increasingly unstable and oppressive outcome, weighing heavily on our schools, our businesses, our homes, and throughout our government. No longer can we endure the self-serving, opportunistic attitude that belies our fundamental values and good work ethics to create a healthy society.
Educators must be given the tools that promote better teaching skills, a safe and creative environment that encourages and promotes greater learning and a mutual willingness to succeed. Too many of our schools remain unsafe, delapidated, and unfit for learning, or raising the consciousness of our youth. Our school busses are archaic, not to mention unsafe, as history has shown by the numbers of accidents and fatalities, often due to driver error and the lack of safety protection, such as seat belts. We must modernize our school transit system, considering their replacement to electric transit with focus on safety and establish a strict hiring code and training for school drivers with compensatory wage increase and benefits.
One solution to fix the financial resource dilemma of our educational system is non-recourse funding to viable companies with high ROI (return on investment), through partnership and monetization of assets. This will not only rejuvenate current market trends, but will also promote an influx of desirable new and established companies in technology, medical research and development, alternative energy sources and products, and a multitude of others that will infuse our work force with good paying jobs and a promising future.
The Monterey shale is one of the largest in the world for natural gas and oil. Monetization of these inground assets will ensure billions of endless resource making California once again, "The Golden State." To this end, our economy will flourish, our schools will cease to be "the troubled child" to our legislators and our society, as new and improved schools will replace the old, as classrooms will no longer be a place of distraction and disappointment, but a place of new ideas, creative projects, and an environment that welcomes individuality, cooperation, and attention to learning. Our children are our most precious asset. Not only are they the focus of our dreams and aspirations, but they are in fact our legacy for the future.
The inhumane conditions of our prisons can only be outmatched by the extraordinary waste of governmental resource and taxpayer dollars. Aside from the devastating overcrowding, violence, and corruption rampant throughout our penal institutions, the concept of a "correctional system" is grossly misleading and purports an even larger problem that must be addressed.
An estimated 65% of California inmates return to prison within three years. As crime continues to be on the increase, our prisons are severely overcrowded, presenting an intolerable situation from internal crime and corruption to substandard sanitation and poor management. Due to ineffective budgeting, insufficient training of staff and personnel, proper enforcement of regulations, and most importantly, an inadequate and poorly designed penal system. Our focus should be on creating an environment that reduces and discourages crime, reducing the recidevism rate, and maintaining order, fairly and humanely, while continuing to hold law-breakers accountable without favoratism. Inmates have a responsibility to society and themselves to make restitution by being productive and accountable for their wrong-doings.
It is reasonable to foresee correctional institutions becoming more self-sufficient and less reliable on taxpayer dollars by implementing "off the grid" energy resources, self-maintaining agriculture and livestock (where possible) for growing their own food consumption, as well as making their own clothes, teaching and mentoring to encourage reading, learning, and self-reflective spiritual and social growth, and preparedness for rehabilitated inmates to be reinstated into society as productive and law-abiding citizens. Productivity is crucial not only in terms of lowering the state's cost of maintaining these very costly correctional facilities, but also for the greater good of society.